'Diner en Blanc' shuts down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:14 PM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., was shut down when a flash mob took over the elegant shopping street for the Los Angeles version of Diner en Blanc.

About 1,200 people carrying their own chairs and food arrived Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Times reported. The dinner had been planned for a year but most participants only learned where they were going when they boarded buses to take them to Beverly Hills.

Participants included François Pasquier, 69, who held the first Diner en Blanc 25 years ago in the Bois de Boulogne. Diners wore white so they could pick each other out from the crowd of Parisians in the park.

The event has since become a global phenomenon.

"Such a chic pique-nique," Pasquier said of the Beverly Hills version.

Tables with elaborate centerpieces were quickly set up. Much of the food matched the setting with Marcello Picone, a self-styled "freelance carney barker" bringing an all-white dinner, and Remil Mangali of West Covina, Calif., bearing six courses from charcuterie and cheese to duck rillettes to macaroons, all washed down, of course, with white wine.

Dinner was followed by dancing, with the music including AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

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